What do Tinder, FedEx and the U.S. Census Bureau have in common? They have all leveraged digital innovation to transform customer experiences.
Love it or hate it, Tinder has “set an industry standard of excellence for user experience with innovative design and user centered functionality.” FedEx, meanwhile, has created experiences that combine atom-based capabilities with digital-based services that are literally 66 million years in the marking. And the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrates that even government bureaucrats can create experiences that span a lifetime.
Are you doing the same? You’ll have as you shift from selling to IT professionals who prioritize integration and compatibility to line of business managers and CIOs who desire improved business outcomes. In the new digital era, in other words, you’re only as good as the experiences you create for end customers.
Don’t just take my word for it. Consider what experts including Michael Krigsman say. Writing for Beyond IT Failure, Krigsman notes that the mindset of CIOs has shifted. Instead of the “who cares” attitude shown by IT departments, user experience (UX) is viewed as “mission critical” by LOB professionals.
This coincides what market research Gartner concluded as far back as 2015 when it surmised that “consumer product companies that have relied on developing new features, improved customer service and product innovation to drive growth now see a future where competitive advantage will be based on the customer experience.”
Our own editor Tom Kaneshige, who has covered customer trends for two decades, says VARs, MSPs and cloud services brokers must accept one universal truth about services delivery today: “Most companies will compete on the digital customer experience. Fail here, and you risk being disrupted,” Kaneshige says.
What kind of experiences are we talking about? Consider the work that Artis Consulting did for Ziosk.
If you’re not familiar, Artis Consulting is a Richardson, Texas, professional services firm dedicated to helping “clients transform their organizations through improved insight and productivity.” The Microsoft Gold Data Analytics and Gold Cloud Platform company recently helped Dallas-based Ziosk, a maker of a food ordering, entertainment and pay-at-the-table tablet, improve its business by leveraging big-data processing, predictive analytics and end-user visualization to create custom experiences for every restaurant guest that uses its devices. Read the compelling case study here.
Then there’s Slalom, a Seattle-based IT consultancy with more than 3,800 employees working in more than two dozen offices throughout the U.S. The company, a Salesforce Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner and former Microsoft Partner of the Year, specializes in creating digital solutions that help companies solve business problems. A typical solution usually involves a variety of disciplines, including business advisory, customer experience, technology and analytics. Slalom recently provided these services to Brooks Running, which has ambitions to nearly double its sales to $1 billion. To achieve its financial goals, Slalom helped build a data warehouse for Brooks that helps the shoe company better manage its inventory and supply chain. With it, Brooks can gather information from the sporting goods stores that sell its shoes and make sure those stores are stocking the exact products their running enthusiasts want and not stocking things they don’t.
Lastly, take a look at the work Plain Concepts has done for Dolby Sound. Plain Concepts is an 11-year consultancy that was founded by four Microsoft MVPs. Today, the Seattle company, which does business around the world, specializes in building multi-platform applications, cloud services, customized backend solutions, desktop clients and public and private web portals.
For Dolby, Plain Concepts had to find a way to remotely showcase “the sensation of being in a living room watching videos with Dolby Audio in the most realistic way possible.” How did it do? Checkout Dolby Sound here. Though two years old, the site still manages to impress.
Now, I know what some of you are saying: “We are MSPs; we don’t do that kind of work.”
If you’re thinking that, then let me ask you the following: If you’re selling services now that someone else will one day offer for less, shouldn’t you step up and provide better experiences that no one else can offer? I think so.
If you’re looking for a place to start, SolarWinds has published an eBook that serves as a good primer. When you’re done perusing it, check out these tips on building better customer experiences, courtesy of Tech Data.
Though it might be feel odd now, learning to think and work in new ways could lead to some of your best experiences yet.